Three astronauts land safely on Earth after six months in orbit aboard the ISS

Three astronauts have landed safely back on Earth after a six month tour in orbit on the International Space Station.

Kate Rubins, of NASA, and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, of Roscosmos, touched down in Kazakhstan on Saturday at 6am UK time.

The Soyuz MS-17 capsule carrying the trio performed a "braking burn" as it hit the Earth's atmosphere before gliding down for a smooth descent, RT reports.

Spectacular footage of the landing has been shared on the International Space Station's Twitter account.

Kud-Sverchkov, Ryzhikov, and Rubins arrived on the ISS in October 2020.

Their trip up was a record-speed ascent that took approximately three hours after liftoff.

Ryzhikov was handed over command of the space station from NASA astronaut and Expedition 63 commander Chris Cassidy after a week.

In mid-November, Expedition 64 welcomed four additional crew members, who arrived on board the SpaceX Crew-1 mission.

RT reported Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov had a busy time on board the ISS, carrying out several spacewalks in preparation for dismantling and detaching the old ‘Pirs’ (Pier) module, so it could be replaced by a new module called ‘Nauka’ (Science).

Their replacements NASA’s Mark Vande Hei and Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos arrived at the station on April 9, on board the Soyuz MS-18.

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The Daily Star this week reported on how Mark, 54, could spend up to a year on the station and him explaining the "emotional flip" during launches and how "unsettling" sunlight becomes in space.

He recalled his first long-duration spaceflight in 2017 on NASA's Houston We Have a Podcast shortly before blasting off again.

The astronaut said: "So, the launch, for me, happened 0 Dark Thirty, I can't remember the exact time. I just do remember it was a not a normal time for me to be awake.

"Very emotional when you're driving away to say goodbye to everybody. And there's a huge crowd of people cheering you on and you feel like a rock star and then it was shocking though how excited you could feel and then it gets really quiet on the bus and it's dark out and you're driving out into the desert in Kazakhstan to a rocket that's all by itself.

"So, we got into the spacecraft and they close us in, get us securely buckled down and then everybody else leaves and you're just sitting out there.

"So, I guess what I'm trying to convey is a sense of tremendous community and celebratory, and then shockingly quiet and isolated.

"And so that was an emotional flip that I didn't expect. Once you get into the process of going through all the checklist to prepare for the launch, that starts seeming, you've practiced this multiple times, you're very focused and even the launch, the launch was so smooth that the biggest shock to me was that nothing went wrong, because all of our training has things going wrong every moment."

He explained how he "wanted a better story" and to use all his emergency training but the launch was "really smooth".

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